th Lecture

The emerging world order ,

The emerging world order

HE MK Narayanan

August 4, 2017


Uncertainty and disorder are the principal characteristics of the 21st Century. Seldom has the world been more unsettled or more riven by differences of every kind. Economic and political crises abound across the globe. The 21st Century demands a New World Order, but it is nowhere in sight.

Given the less than optimistic global political outlook and the pessimistic state of the economy, apart from other prevailing uncertainties, it is evident that the established order which emerged after World War II is under challenge on many fronts.

Two transformative developments impact the emerging world order. One is the perceived decline of the US. The other is the rise of China. The reluctance of the US to lead, and China's determination on its part to pursue its 19th Century agenda, have serious implications for the emerging world order. Between these two transformative developments, one can discern an improvement in Russia's position of late. Western Europe, however, appears caught up in a near existential crisis.

While every region of the globe is disturbed at present, West Asia is perhaps the most disturbed. The situation here has become extremely complex. Elsewhere in Asia, newer trends do not hold out much hope for peace and order.

This is as true of South Asia as elsewhere. As China's assertive image matches its growth, problems for India in the region and beyond, are becoming more complex. The Emerging World Order of the 21st Century does not seem to hold out any more hope than the final decades of the 20th Century.


Mayankote Kelath Narayanan is an Indian diplomat and former IPS officer. He was the National Security Adviser of India from 2005 to 2010. He served as the Governor of West Bengal from 2010 to 2014. The Government of India awarded him the civilian honor of Padma Shri in 1992.

M. K. Narayanan joined the Indian Police Service in 1955. After serving as Sub-Divisional Police Officer in the erstwhile State of Madras, he went on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau in February 1959. The rest of his service career was spent under the Government of India, mainly in the Intelligence Bureau. He headed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 1987 to 1990, before heading the Joint Intelligence Committee.

The diplomat became Chief of the IB again in 1991 and retired in 1992. He was the Special Adviser for Internal Security to the Prime Minister of India in 2014. He played a significant role in the negotiation of the landmark Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement of 2008.